Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
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Private philanthropy and the organizations it supports are part of the life-blood of America—aiding and uplifting those in need, identifying and addressing problems which others, including government,  have not yet even recognized.

  Howard Husock





History has shown that free markets are the best way to organize economic activity. But the Manhattan Institute understands that in a healthy society, markets are complemented by charitable and philanthropic enterprises—which both help those in need and prepare citizens to realize their potential. Indeed, Adam Smith himself understood this: his writing on the virtues of markets (Wealth of Nations) was preceded by his writing on morality, compassion, and altruism (Theory of Moral Sentiments). Since its founding, the United States has been characterized by its vibrant civil society, one in which private, nonprofit, voluntary nongovernmental organizations are formed to ameliorate social ills.

Both to celebrate and support this tradition, the Manhattan Institute established our social entrepreneurship initiative in 2001. Directed by Vice-President for Policy Research Howard Husock, it combines research, writing, public speaking, and events on the role of nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations with an award program which recognizes the best of America's new generation of nonprofit leaders.

In Democracy in America, Tocqueville observed:

"Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions, constantly form associations. They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies but associations of a thousand other kinds-religious, moral, serious, futile, enormous, or diminutive. The Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books; to send out missionaries; they found in this manner hospitals, prisons, and schools. Wherever, at the head of some new undertaking, you see the government in France, or a man of rank in England, in the United States you will be sure to find an association."



The nomination period for the 2015 awards ended on March 13th. Winners will be notified later this summer.

About The Program

William E. Simon Lecture

William E. Simon Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Entrepreneurship

Past Winners

Nomination and Selection

Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship

Past Winners

Nomination and Selection

Questions about the Social Entrepreneurship Awards can be directed to Michael Barreiro at


The Manhattan Institute, a 501(c)(3), is a think tank whose mission is to develop and disseminate new ideas
that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility.

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